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Top 2014 NHL Free Agent Wingers: 11 Through 20

Mason RaymondExpanded look at unrestricted free agency this week by Todd Cordell, who can be found on twitter @ToddCordell. Top 10 wingers will be posted tomorrow

While this is recognized league-wide as a poor free agent class, those hoping to address the wing and add some scoring punch are in luck, as there are quite a few quality players to choose from.

In this post we’ll be looking at the top-11 through 20 wingers whom could test the market come July 1. My top-10 will be posted tomorrow. The rankings will take into account standard stats such as goals, assists, and points as well as advanced stats such as Corsi For% relative to the team, and points per 60 minutes of 5 vs 5 and/or 5 vs 4.

Notes: Corsi For% is simply used to track shot attempts taken while a player is on the ice. If Player X is a 60% Corsi player, that means 60% of all shot attempts when he’s on the ice go towards the opposing net, while only 40% head in the direction of his goaltender’s net. This number is used to see who’s driving play, and generally having higher Corsi numbers leads to more production. Corsi For% relative to the team compares a player’s numbers to those of his team when he’s not on the ice. If Player X is a 60% Corsi player and his team is 55% without him, which gives him a Corsi Relative% of +5%.

Points per 60 minutes is simply how many points Player X records per 60 minutes of any given situation. If Player X had 10 5 vs 5 points in 120 minutes of ice, his 5 vs 5 points/60 would be 5. The same goes for goals and assists.

All numbers are via CapGeek, HockeyAnalysis, and ExtraSkater.

Without further ado, here are my rankings for the top-11 to 20 free agent wingers available this summer.

20. David Booth – Vancouver Canucks – 29
Prior contract: six years, $25 million ($4.25M cap hit)

It’s been all downhill for Booth since he left Florida, as he’s had injury problems and never really found his niche in Vancouver.

That said, he does possess the ability to score some goals, and if he finds himself in a low-pressure situation and can stay healthy, he may turn out to be a nice addition for a team looking for depth and some offensive punch on the wing.

19. Steve Downie – Philadelphia Flyers – 27
Prior contract: two years, $5.3 million ($2.65M cap hit)

Steve Downie is what he is. He’s a somewhat undersized forward who likes to get in on the forecheck, finish his checks and chip in offensively when he can.

He struggles to stay disciplined at times and has had a tough time staying healthy in recent years due to concussion problems, but he has shown he can produce when healthy. Downie has 22-goal, 46-point season under his belt and has scored at least 10 goals in every season he’s played 55+ games in with last year being the lone exception.

18. Devin Setoguchi – Winnipeg Jets – 27
Prior contract: three year, $9 million ($3M cap hit)

Setoguchi has scored at least 11 goals in every NHL season (even the lockout shortened year and his 44 game rookie campaign) and this past season aside, has scored at a prorated pace every year that would see him pot 20+ goals if he played in all 82 games.

Consistency can be an issue with him at times, but if someone can light a fire under him and he’s given the opportunity to play with some skilled guys, he should be able to score some goals.

17. Dustin Penner – Washington Capitals – 31
Prior contract: one year, $2 million ($2M cap hit)

Penner is a guy who’s made fun of frequently because of so called weight issues and the whole pancake ordeal a few years back, but he’s actually a pretty good player.

He scored 14 goals, put up 35 points and averaged a respectable 1.66 points/60 of 5 vs 5. Not only were his standard stats good, but also he was a good possession player and drove play at a higher rate than his team did with him on the bench.

His 5.15 points/60 on the man advantage was 4th highest among UFA wingers, so he could help a team’s power play as well.

16. Brian Gionta – Montreal Canadiens – 35
Prior contract: five years, $25 million ($5M cap hit)

Gionta can still chip in here and there, but at this point he’s best serving as a middle-6 forward on a team where he has talent around him and can play against team’s 2nd and 3rd defense pairings.

He’s still quite effective on the power play – he averaged 3.65 points/60 on the man advantage – but his 5 vs 5 production isn’t what it once was.

He averaged 1.34 points/60 at full strength and posted lower totals than Troy Bodie, Brendan Morrow, Blake Comeau and Vernon Fiddler, among others, in that regard, so at this point not much can be expected.

If he elects to walk away from Montreal, he could be a nice depth addition to a contending team looking for some help in their middle-6 and on the 2nd PP unit. At this point in his career he’s not much more than that.

15. Lee Stempniak – Pittsburgh Penguins – 31
Prior contract: two years, $5 million ($2.5M cap hit)

Stempniak is a guy that doesn’t get much credit, but he’s quietly effective and would be a good addition to any team’s top-9. He can play up and down the lineup, score some goals and he won’t cost much to sign.

He’s quietly recorded 66 points in his last 120 games (.55 PPG), which prorates to a little over 45 points over a full season.

14. Benoit Pouliot – New York Rangers – 27
Prior contract: one year, $1 million ($1M cap hit)

Pouliot has been forced to sign a one-year deal five consecutive times, but that streak figures to end this summer.

After scoring 15 goals and adding 36 points in 80 regular season games before an impressive playoff run with the Rangers, there should be quite a few suitors lining up for his services.

What many people don’t realize is that Pouliot’s production this season isn’t something new, and that he’s had no problems producing points at a high rate whenever he’s been given the chance.

Pouliot is averaging 2.02 points/60 minutes of 5 vs 5 ice over the last three seasons, which is 54th among NHL forwards with 1,500+ minutes in that span.

To put that in perspective that total is tied with Rick Nash and Anze Kopitar. If that’s not enough, Pouliot’s 2.02 points/60 is ahead of the likes of Zach Parise, Alex Ovechkin, Logan Couture and Daniel Sedin, among others.

Pouliot was a 55% Corsi player this past season, which was 3.4% higher than the Rangers’ Corsi when he wasn’t on the ice. That +3.4% is 3rd highest among free agent wingers relative to their respective teams.

Though he’s in line for a raise, he likely won’t command too much money or term and he could once again be a steal in free agency.

13. Milan Michalek – Ottawa Senators – 29
Prior contract: six years, $26 million ($4.33M cap hit)

Michalek’s best offensive years are likely behind him, but he can still produce. He scored 17 goals and totaled 39 points while playing in all 82 games for the Senators this past season.

I think a change of scenery is something that could benefit him, and if he plays with a good playmaking center that can get him the puck, he should be able to score 20+ goals once again.

One thing I think kind of hindered him is that outside of Erik Karlsson and Patrick Wiercioch, who spent almost half the season in the press box, the Sens don’t really have anyone who can move the puck up ice and give him a good outlet to start a rush the other way.

His power play points/60 was a little over 3, which is respectable but not great, and his full strength points/60 of 1.48 was OK, but I think there’s room for improvement with him.

As I mentioned, if he can go play for a team with good playmaking center and some good puck movers while placed in a secondary role, he could thrive.

12. Nikolai Kulemin – Toronto Maple Leafs – 27
Prior contract: two years, $5.6 million ($2.8M cap hit)

Kulemin is an interesting free agent option in that he’s a much better player than his numbers over the last two years suggest.

He has 43 points in his last 118 games which is hardly production that screams he’s a top-6 forward, but given the circumstances he’s played in his point totals are actually pretty good.

He’s been in Randy Carlyle’s doghouse, per se, and has spent almost every game over the last couple seasons playing in a bottom-6 with noted offensive weapon Jay McClement as his most regular linemate over that time frame.

When he was given the opportunity to play in the top-6 with some skilled players a few seasons ago he was able to score 46 goals and tally 93 points in two seasons.

Give him a fresh start, players with talent to play with and some offensive zone starts, I think he could return to old form and put up 40-50 points. He’s still only 27 years of age, so there’s some gas left in the tank.

11. Mason Raymond – Toronto Maple Leafs – 28
Prior contract: one year, $1 million ($1M cap hit)

Raymond signed a one-year prove it-type contract with the Maple Leafs a year ago, and after his impressive campaign he’s certainly in line for a raise this summer.

The speedy-winger showed his back issues are a thing of the past while playing in all 82 games, scoring 19 goals and tallying 45 points.

Raymond averaged 1.57/points per 60 minutes during full strength, and averaged 4.10/points per 60 on the man advantage, which was a very impressive total that bettered those of Gaborik and Vanek.

He is a guy who can play anywhere in the top-9, and can take a regular shift on the power play or penalty kill and be effective.

Raymond has been rumored to be looking for about $3 million per season on his next contract, so if he can replicate his production from last season I think he’d be a nice bargain for anyone.

3 Comments

  1. Mark Easson

    June 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I don’t think Penner will ever live down the pancakes.

  2. hankbemis

    June 24, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    I’m guessing the wings have their eye on mason raymond.

  3. backburner

    June 26, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    No Cammalleri?